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ForbesVoice: LA County Brings Tech Innovation to Property Tax Complexity

The LA County Office of the Assessor modernized on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure for a more agile system of managing Proposition 13 tax legislation.

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Innovation takes many forms, and would certainly include a local government leaping from ancient green screen software to cloud-based applications to manage data at the heart of its tax records. Now consider that the project is for Los Angeles County, the U.S.’s largest county with more than 10 million people, and it gets even more interesting.

The Los Angeles County Office of the Assessor decided to build its own cloud-based "Assessor as a Service" capability because, after much research, it felt off-the-shelf software wouldn’t accommodate California's complicated Proposition 13 tax legislation well. And now L.A. County plans to make the software available via subscription to agencies throughout California and the U.S.

"Prop 13 actually limits the options available for modernization," says Scott Thornberry, director of operations at the Los Angeles County Office of the Assessor. "We found several large counties had undertaken initiatives and failed because third-party vendors had built products that worked well in other states and counties around the world, but Prop 13 is radically different so the ability for any California county to buy off-the-shelf software is very limited."

To solve the problem itself, the L.A. County Assessor's Office initiated its Assessment Modernization Project, which involved moving more than 100 software and system portfolio assets to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. As part of that project, the Assessor's Office modernized its Assessor Portal, which provides search access to records, maps, and photos. The public can access the portal, which is also used by 12 departments involved in property taxation, from the treasurer and tax collector to the public health department. For example, a property owner or potential buyer can view a property's assessment history and see how the assessments are distributed between land and improvements. An internal department could use it to determine whether property taxes have been paid.


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